We just got some massive news in the ongoing drive to switch to renewable energy: scientists have identified 530,000 sites worldwide suitable for pumped-hydro energy storage, capable of storing more than enough energy to power the entire planet.
Pumped-hydro is one of the best technologies we have for storing intermittent renewable energy, such as solar power, which means these sites could act as giant batteries, helping to support cheap, fully renewable power grids.
As of now the sites have only been identified by an algorithm, so further on-the-ground research needs to be done. But it was previously assumed there were only limited suitable sites around the world, and that we wouldn’t be able to store enough renewable energy for high-demand times – which this study shows isn’t the case at all.
Added together, these hundreds of thousands of sites have the potential to store around 22 million Gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy. It’s more than enough to get the entire planet running on renewables, which is where we want to get to.
“Only a small fraction of the 530,000 potential sites we’ve identified would be needed to support a 100 percent renewable global electricity system,” says one of the researchers involved in the survey, Matthew Stocks from the Australian National University (ANU). MORE